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Full text of "My Country And My People"

132           MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

ancient times.  It was raw and it was free. One folk-song from
the Book of Poems runs thus:

If thou thinkest of me,
I will lift my petticoat

And cross the river Ts'en.1
If thou thinkest not of me,
Why, are there not other men?

—Oh, thou silly boy!

If thou thinkest of me,
I will lift my petticoat

And cross the River Wo.
If thou thinkest not of me,
Why, are there not other beaux?

—Oh, thou silly boy!

The Book of Poems also has many examples of songs of women
who ran away with their lovers. The marriage system had
not yet become the severe bondage of women that it was in
later days. The sexual relations of men in the times of Con-
fucius, especially those prevailing in the upper classesj had
something analogous to those in the days of decadent Rome,
with numerous cases of incest with stepmothers, with daughters-
in-law, with sisters-in-law, the presentation of one's wife to a
neighbouring ruler, the marrying of a son's wife for one's own
benefit, illicit relations between the queen and the prime
minister, etc., with which the Chochilan abounds. Woman, who
is always powerful in China, was powerful then. The Queen of
Wei made the King summon the handsomest man in the country
to her boudoir. Divorce was still easy and divorcees could
remarry. The cult of feminine chastity had not yet become an
obsession with men.

Then came Confucianism with its seclusion of women. The
separation of men and women was soon pushed by the Con-
fucianists to such extremes that married sisters could not eat
at the same table with their brothers> according to the Book of

1 The spellings of these river names have been slightly altered to suit the
rhyme*